Aqualad, a strange city, new friends, and contemplations. AL-centric. Gen. (Drabble length)
The surface world was a strange place. Granted, Aqualad had not seen much of it, but if what he had seen so far was anything to go by, then he concluded the surface world to be more than a little odd.
He had stood along the shore once, earlier that year with Starfire, during the night to stare at the bright city lights. So bright were they that it seemed the sky was just a spill of dark ink, stars nonexistent.
Aqualad, knowing the importance of stars and constellations, realised that night that he could never stay in a city such as this, not in a place where the sky seemed a void compared to the sea. When he had begun the swim homeward, he lingered on the surface of the ocean, backstroking lazily as he studied the constellations that had been ingrained in his memory almost since birth.
He felt lost without them as guides. He always had.
The city was a speck of light in the distance. He knew he would never return with the intention of staying for more than a day, content with the depths of the dark sea, compared to the cage of lights that hid many things from him. He had kept the Teen Titans communicator nonetheless, feeling a simple warmth in his chest at the thought of such friendship.
If he closed his eyes, Aqualad could still recall the faces, the smiles, the laughter. He had never known such joy as that day.
When the day had passed and the night fallen, Aqualad departed from Titans Tower late in the evening. He found himself on the shore with Starfire by his side. He didn't remember how that came to be. He only wished it had been Beast Boy, for some elusive reason. It probably wouldn't have been as uncomfortable.
In the distance Aqualad committed to memory the image of the tall buildings, fiercely lit signs, bridges, skyscrapers, and the headlights of cars moving along the concrete streets, like a moving photograph in his head. The low hum of constant traffic murmured to the dark; the language of the steel city.
For a moment, he hadn't wanted to forget any of the details. Then, he wanted to. Aqualad knew there was nothing for him there, not the strange, curious lives of his new friends, nor the star-stealing lights of their soulless city. The sound of waves against the shore eventually drew him into the comforting embrace of the ocean, his mother, and lured him away.
Aqualad could still hear Starfire's parting words, "Come see us soon, friend!" and had known he wouldn't, even as he smiled reassuringly and said he would try.
He had closed his eyes as he floated on the surface of the sea, his weight pulling him downwards into the cool soothing shadows. He willed himself to forget the one smile that mattered most.
It wasn't that hard to do.